Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Jerusalem next week, in preparations for the release of the Trump administration’s much-hyped Israel-PA “deal of the century” peace plan.
Pompeo’s visit will take place less than one month before Israel’s April 9 elections.
A State Department spokesperson stressed that, despite appearances borne by the proximity of the Secretary’s visit to the elections, “Israel is an ally… We’re not going to get involved in the domestic politics of another country.”
But despite those assurances, there’s little doubt regarding the effect of photo-ops featuring Pompeo and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, smack in the middle of a campaign where the latter’s Likud party is trailing its major opponent, Blue & White, by an average of 5 Knesset seats.
On the other hand, there’s a chance that Pompeo would also find the time to shake hands with Netanyahu’s rival, former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz – seeing as Blue & White is more likely to embrace a US-imposed peace deal with the PA.
Pompeo will also stop in Kuwait and Lebanon, the latter of which would cause some PR issues, since the local government there is considered to have been installed and sanctioned by Hezbollah.